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The East Coast Upgrade

Network Rail have started a multi-million pound programme to upgrade the East Coast Main Line. The programme includes:

  • Renewing track, signalling and overhead wire equipment on the approach to London Kings Cross station. The track is being re-laid in a new layout, with a disused tunnel being reopened, allowing for six tracks into the station instead of the current four.
  • A new platform is being built at Stevenage for the Hertford North-Stevenage trains (buses are replacing trains between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage while construction takes place)
  • Relocating the control of signalling to Network Rail's operating centre in York
  • Further improvement works are taking place further north of Peterborough

You can find out more about this programme at eastcoastupgrade.co.uk

 

Frequently asked questions

What is the East Coast Upgrade Project?

Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade is a £1.2 billion plan that covers a number of different improvements along the the East Coast Main Line, a key rail route carrying over 20 million passengers a year, connecting London King’s Cross and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For more information about the work being carried out visit eastcoastupgrade.co.uk.

How does the East Coast Upgrade affect Great Northern and Thameslink services?

The work includes a major upgrade at King’s Cross station, upgrading power supplies, construction of almost 2km of new railway line and a new Platform 5 at Stevenage (removing conflict between Hertford North line trains and other services) and transfer of the signalling to be controlled from the York Rail Operations Centre instead of King’s Cross signal box.

Wasn’t King’s Cross finished a few years ago?

The station building itself was modernised and revamped in 2012, but the existing track and signalling layout has not been improved since it was installed over 40 years ago and is in need of upgrading to meet future passenger demands. Passenger numbers are expected to increase by 30% by 2023. The East Coast Upgrade involves creating a new, simpler, layout at King’s Cross with additional tracks allowing an increase in capacity.

What’s happening on the Moorgate line?

The Moorgate line signalling is being transferred to York as part of the East Coast upgrade. There is also a separate project to renovate the stations, much of which has already taken place, and to clean the tunnels. This will require line closures which, although not part of the East Coast Upgrade, will affect many of the same passengers during the same time period.

How are passengers affected by the construction of Stevenage Platform 5?

There are currently no trains for most of the day on Mondays to Fridays between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage. Buses are replacing these services until May 2020. More details are available on our Great Northern information page.

Is there more work to come?

Yes. There is significant further work planned as part of the East Coast Upgrade.

Later in 2019, 2020 and 2021
Full details for this period are still being finalised but there will be further longer packages of work, including line closures, which will have a big impact on our services.

The rail industry is working together to package the projects to reduce the number of times that passengers are disrupted and allow them to plan their journeys with confidence.

Dates and more details will be announced later in 2019. Closures will be advertised well in advance to allow passengers to plan ahead. Keep an eye on eastcoastupgrade.co.uk.

How are dates chosen?

We know that closing the railway to carry out improvement work has a big impact on passengers’ lives, which is why we work hard with Network Rail and other train companies to plan the work in a way that minimises overall disruption as much as possible. We hope that by providing several months’ notice people will be able to make informed choices and be more flexible with their travel plans.

All dates are chosen, as far as possible, to avoid major events.

Why not delay the works indefinitely?

This work is designed to provide a better, more reliable service for passengers on one of the busiest sections of railway in the country. Delaying the works would mean passengers having to wait longer for reliability improvements and an increased risk of delays and disruption as ageing infrastructure continued to deteriorate.

How can I keep up to date with what is going on?